It had been over an hour since poor nurse Meaghan stormed out of the room. Morgan had quickly fallen to sleep and Garcia sat quietly watching the up and down movement of his chest. She so wanted to be angry with him for trying to keep her and the others away but she knew exactly why he did it. He was one of the most stubborn men she knew and he was determined to never show weakness. She had her work cut out for her making him believe that no matter how hard he had tried he would not have been able to stop what had happened.
Morgan slowly opened his eyes and was happy that she was still there. Her eyes met his and her smile; that smile was the light he needed in that moment. He had so many questions he wanted to ask about the boys and he needed to know if Hotch, JJ and Will were angry with him. He hadn't seen them since being admitted so he feared the worse. Just before either of them spoke a soft knock on the door claimed their attention.
Rossi and Reid stepped into the room moving toward the bed with looks of relief on their faces.
"What are you two doing here?"
He assumed that no one else from the team would want to see him.
"Where else would we be?" Reid asked puzzled.
"And since we've been waiting since last night to see you, the least you could do is be nice." Rossi teased.
"I'm sorry, man."
"Hey don't worry about it with what you've been through you deserve to be a little grumpy."
Garcia smiled as the tension in his face eased and he returned their smiles. The bruises and swelling made it difficult but he didn't mind. The four talked and each tried to keep his mind off of the reasons that had landed him here.
"How are the boys?"
He had avoided the question long enough and he needed to know. He didn't want to tell them but they were failing miserably at trying to distract him.
"They're doing fine." Reid started.
He needed more.
"Morgan, Jack and Henry were checked out and they are both safe at home with their parents. I spoke with Aaron before we came in."
"Good. I don't know what I would have done if…"
"Shh…none of that!" Garcia scolded. "You saved their lives…"
"What are you talking about? It was my fault all this happened in the first place!"
There it was out in the open. They knew that their idle chatter would only hold back the inevitable for only a little while. Each one of them knew it was coming it was boiling just under the surface of the smiles and conversation. His mind had been distracted desperately waiting to get a word in. Then finally he found his open and they were all front and center with what would haunt their friend forever. There were no words of reason that would change his mind.
"Morgan, Chester Barker was after all of us! It could have been any of us…" Rossi began.
"But it was me! He chose me because he knew he could fool me and he beat me!"
Garcia squeezed his hand as she held firmly to her resolve not to cry.
"Chester Barker is a sick man. He also had five people helping him to pull off his plan." Reid chimed in.
Morgan felt the pain of his injuries and the anger of his ego boiling inside. No one understood what it felt like to be tricked into letting danger into his home and then being victimized in such a brutal way. He couldn't fault the three for wanting him to think that he hadn't screwed up but he knew better. Worst of all, his failure had nearly cost the lives of two small boys who he loved dearly. Nothing would change that.
"Look, Derek, we all know you blame yourself for what happened, it's what you do, right? But the fact of the matter is, you're not perfect, none of us are! Barker needed someone to blame and he chose you!"
Rossi looked at his troubled friend hoping his words got through to him. He could see that amidst his physical pain he was struggling to process the words. It wouldn't be easy, after all it was Morgan they were dealing with and his stubborn pride would surely stand in the way of any logical reason.
Morgan grimaced and looked away wishing for a way to escape the conversation. It was time for more pain meds and some peace and quiet. As if on cue, an older nurse entered the room carrying a small tray with what looked like his much needed pain medication.
"Hello, Mr. Morgan, I'm Rebecca. I'm your nurse for today."
"What happened to Meaghan? Did she give up on me?"
"No her shift ended so you're stuck with me."
The older woman shot a warning glance at Garcia silently letting her know that she wasn't Meaghan. Garcia returned her look with a knowing glare of acknowledgement.
Morgan felt the medication almost immediately, cursing through his veins and pulling him quickly to a warm heavy numbed place of relief. His eyelids began to close as his body surrendered to the darkness. Rossi and Reid tired convincing Garcia to go home to get some rest but they failed as she continued her vigil at his bedside. The two promised to return later with food and fresh clothes for her and then quietly closed the door behind them.
Three hours later…
He thought it was a dream or a part of the delirium of the medication. The small voices and giggles were unlike the nightmares that he'd been having since being in the hospital. Then the touches on his arms like small fingertips forced his drowsy eyes open. The sight nearly made him cry grown man tears when he realized it wasn't a dream. Without saying a word he looked around the room filled with the tearful smiles of his friends. JJ looked at him barely able to contain her emotions as Will held her tightly to his side. Hotch's toothy grin caught him off guard too. They were all there; the entire team his family, each one waiting for him to wake up.
"Uncle Derek!" Jack and Henry shouted in unison.
"They were trying so hard to be quiet but they couldn't help themselves." JJ began.
"I hope they didn't wake you." Hotch added.
"No…no…hey, Jack, Henry…how are you guys?"
"We're fine!" Jack began.
"What took you so long to wake up? We've been waiting fo'evah!"
Derek couldn't help but chuckle at the innocent eyes staring at him for an answer.
"I'm sorry, Uncle Derek was just tired, that's all."
Derek looked at both Jack and Henry slowly raising his hand to lightly touch the sides of their faces to make sure for himself that they were indeed there and okay. It was overwhelming it was more than he could expect or hope for to see them again. He glanced again at Hotch, JJ and Will; they were still smiling at the boys then at him. He didn't see the anger and hurt that he had expected to see in their faces. Instead he saw, happiness and gratitude and for the first time since being there was able to relax without the aid of heavy medication.
"We worked the case with you, Uncle Derek!" Said Jack.
"Yeah, we worked the case!" Squealed Henry.
"Did we do good?" Asked Jack.
Morgan pushed back his emotions and looked at the two.
"You did great! I wouldn't have been able to solve the case without you two! Good job!"
"Can we wuk the case wif you again?" Henry asked innocently.
"Of course, little man."
JJ and Will approached the bed and stood behind their son their eyes met Morgan. He nervously watched for any sign of anger or disappointment but it wasn't there. He was confused, he was sure that he'd lost his good friends after what had happened but here they all were.
JJ gently took his hand in hers.
Will shook his head affirming his wife's words he was too full to speak. It was then that Morgan saw their tears slowly falling from their eyes.
Then Hotch approached the bed his eyes were red and he placed a light hand on Morgan's shoulder.
"You saved our sons, Morgan. Thank you."
"I don't know what to say. I feel like I failed. I tried to protect them but I failed."
"No you didn't." Will muttered.
"We don't blame you even if you blame yourself." Hotch added. "If you hadn't thought about the boys working the case, Barker would have killed them before we got there."
Morgan felt the first tear fall from his eyes; he didn't want to cry not in front of all of them. Then the damn broke and he was too weak to hold back the flood. Garcia quickly moved to the other side of the bed carefully sitting and taking his hand in hers. He kept his eyes on her watching her every move. She leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on his lips.
"We love you, Hotstuff."
Unable to speak he merely shook his head as the others looked on their faces too were wet with tears.
The next several hours were spent in the small room with the team who had become family so long ago talking, laughing and comforting each other. After about the fifth time, nurse Rebecca had given up trying to keep the rowdy bunch quiet as Garcia shot her a warning look of her own. In the warmth and safety of that room, Morgan felt at peace; there was no anger, no fear and no disappointment or distrust. No one had blamed him for anything that had happened they showed him love; love he never expected. He was tired and sore but the joy he felt made it all worthwhile.
It was getting late, Jack and Henry were starting to nod on their fathers' laps and Morgan felt himself drifting off too. The group collectively, minus Garcia, excused themselves and headed toward the door. Then suddenly, JJ turned back just before stepping into the hallway.
"I almost forgot, Will and I have date night next Friday, can you babysit?"
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry